All Blacks vs Boks: Prepare for a massive breakdown battle

2013-10-01 16:56

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All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is likely to return to the team ahead of Saturday’s crucial Rugby Championship test against South Africa at Ellis Park.

His return is likely to signal a massive breakdown battle. However, McCaw is the least of Springbok forwards coach Johann van Graan’s worries, knowing that whoever New Zealand fields is versed in the art of scavenging for the ball.

Van Graan said: “When you mention the All Blacks, you look at Richie McCaw and they also have Liam Messam. Brodie Retallick was a massive nuisance at the breakdown. They have Ma’a Nonu and Julian Savea with their counter-rucking in the wide channels.

“The All Blacks pose a massive threat on attack and defence at the breakdown.”

But with eight turnovers won in their previous clash at Eden Park, Van Graan said: “We play with the mentality that all 23 players have to be able to make the right decision at the breakdown. Attackwise we had 100 breakdowns and won 96 of them, which is quite good, but we want to aim for 100 percent.”

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said he knew the Springboks would bring their A-game on Saturday, but the All Blacks wouldn’t be passive defenders.

“South Africa will ask a lot of questions of us, which they did at Eden Park. But it’s not about us minimising what they do; it’s about us really getting excited about playing at Ellis Park,” Foster said.

“We want to play our game. We don’t enjoy sitting there and tackling for 80 minutes. We enjoy getting the ball and playing, and that’s what we train for. That’s going to be our intent and that won’t be changing.”

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